Yes. Time and a half is mandatory for overtime. If you work over 40 hours in a given week, your employer must pay you at least 1.5 times your regular hourly wage, unless you qualify as an overtime-exempt employee. Your employer can pay you more than time and a half for overtime if they so choose.
Understanding North Carolina Overtime Laws
Minimum wage and overtime pay laws in North Carolina require a minimum overtime wage of $10.88 for most employees. This is one and one-half times the state minimum wage of $7.25. This echoes the federal law as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Of course, if your regular standard time pay rate is above minimum wage, your overtime pay rate must still be 1.5 times your standard hourly wage. This is true if you are a non-exempt employee and qualify for overtime pay.
You will earn your overtime pay rate for any time worked over 40 hours in a single workweek. For example, imagine you normally earn $10 an hour. Last week, you worked 41 hours. This means your paycheck should include 40 hours of standard time plus an hour of overtime.
$10×1.5=$15 overtime pay rate
($10×40)+($15×1)=$415 total pay for the week
Some Employers Try to Avoid Paying Overtime to Save Money
There is no doubt that having to pay employees time and a half when they go over 40 hours is a hit to the budget if an employer has not accounted for that potential. However, this is no excuse to not pay their workers fairly. The law is clear — if your employer fails to pay you for your overtime, or if your employer pays you less than time and a half, you can recover the compensation you are due.
There are several ways employers may try to avoid paying their workers overtime. This includes:
- Averaging hours over a two-week pay period (g., paying you for 40 hours each week, when you actually worked 55 one week and 25 the next week. In this case, your employer would owe you 15 hours of overtime pay.)
- Adjusting the start date of a workweek
- Continuing to pay straight time for overtime hours
- Rounding hours down (per the U.S. Department of Labor, employers can round time to the nearest quarter hour. However, there are specific laws controlling this. Any violation of these laws and you would be entitled to compensation for the unpaid wages.)
- Misclassifying employees as overtime exempt
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
All of these actions are different ways of unlawfully reducing your wages, and we may be able to recover your lost wages from your employer on your behalf.
Taking Action to Recover the Wages You Earned
We encourage you to call us if you believe your employer withheld overtime wages you rightfully earned. If your employer failed to pay you time and a half for your overtime, this violates both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and North Carolina’s wage payment laws. This is true whether your employer’s actions are intentional or unintentional.
If we can prove your employer failed to compensate you as required, we may be able to help you recover payment for the hours you worked.
Our team will review your case for free, and help you determine if you earned wages for which you did not receive payment. We can help you understand the following:
- Your classification;
- If you are exempt from overtime pay; and
- How much your employer may owe you if you are not exempt.
We can walk you through the process to recover these wages and other damages you suffered because of your employer’s’s failure to pay you as required under the law.
Talk to a North Carolina Employee Rights Attorney About Your Missing Overtime Pay
At Gibbons Leis, PLLC, our employee rights team offers complimentary consultations. If we find you have a strong case against your North Carolina employer, our employment lawyers will explain the process to recover the wages you earned and hold your employer accountable.
Call our Charlotte office today at 704-612-0038 to schedule a time to discuss your case.